My favorite Bible verse is Psalms 46:10. It reminds us to "be still" and "know that I am God". We will all experience hardships in life, some are easy to understand, and some do not make any sense at all. I have found that hardships can make us stronger and better, or they can destroy us and own us. I believe each of our views are based on our perspective in this life. For me, the first thing I remember is that I am not alone. God is with me, and He is with you. He is present! That is why He tells us to be still and know that He is God. Think about what it means to be still. It could mean to be stationary and not move, but I believe it is to be still in our spirit. To experience peace. To know that God is present and working in us and on our behalf even before we ask Him to be in prayer. He wants us to be at peace in every situation. A peace that only comes from knowing him and trusting him. The second part of this verse could be interpreted as a purely intellectual view of your situation, but I believe it is much more than that, it is to know and acknowledge that there is a God, a God that has all power and authority, and a God that protects and keeps his promises. If you do not know this God, just talk to Him. He is listening. He is with you. I am not alone, and you are not alone.
Today is the day I was supposed to go back to MD Anderson for my official five-year anniversary of being cancer free. I am supposed to be celebrating, right? Yet, I am not. Instead, I am going to have a quintuple heart bypass tomorrow. Immediately, I simply asked God, "Why God?" His response was as simple as, "We are not done yet." Done with what you might ask - witnessing! That is right, I believe some of the greatest testimonies I have ever had, and others have ever had is how we respond to our challenges. Instead of "Why God?", the question must be "What God?" What are you going to do through me and through others to bring glory to you?
Clearly, He set the bar high, but like a wildfire out of control, the word spread, prayer warriors came out of the woodwork, helpers came to meet us at our point of need. Phone calls, texts, and emails of encouragement flooded us daily.
A common question asked was, "How do you feel?" This question was very pointed. They were not talking about my heart, but my spiritual peace. Was I in a good place. At first, I said I do not know what I feel, but once I understood the question, it was easy to answer. I felt faithful, I believed, I trusted, I had no fear of the procedure, and I was spiritually still and remembering who God is and what He has done and what He can do.
Two prayers God put on my heart were to pray, "protect my heart" and "heal my heart". Both seem similar, but they are dynamically different. Protect is to prevent something from happening, such as a heart attack while I waited or how I viewed my surgery - was I at peace? He did both. To heal my heart means to cure what has happened to my arteries. To make them whole so they can last a lifetime. I believe He is doing just that as we speak. I believe He is going to stop the blockages from occurring going forward as He heals my arteries.
As I think about those I love, my wife Stephanie, my four children, their spouses, our grandbabies, my parents, my siblings and their spouses, my nephews and nieces, my friends and my co-workers, I am concerned about them. I am concerned for their peace. I pray that God comforts them and meets each one at their point of need.
I would like to share one of the many prayers I received today and over the last several weeks as it captures the full extent of how I feel and what I want everybody else to feel.
By Sharon Madagan
Abba Father—thank you for hearing our prayers and petitions as we cast them at your feet. Thank you, Holy Spirit for praying for us when our words fail.
Jehovah Rapha— I ask for complete healing for Tom. Please guide his surgeon’s hands as he knits Tom in a way that needs Your perfect healing touch. Please give the surgeons and anesthesiologist wisdom. Please provide ample compassion on Tom’s nurses and caretakers.
Yahweh Shammah—You are already there. And we trust you. We know, El Roi, that you see every concern that we, in our weak state of humanity, hold onto. We surrender it all to you, El Shadday. And ask for a successful, uncomplicated surgery and recovery.
Your servant has much more to do— he has much more love to give, and more people to tell of your love.
Please, Yahweh Shalom, pour your peace over Tom, his beautiful bride, and over his entire family. May they feel your presence as they hold their breath waiting to hear that your servant is strong and recovering. May their countenance be lifted as they look to You- our GOD.
We praise You in this and through this. We thank you for all that you have done, are doing, and will do in this valley.
We love you, Lord. Thank you for hearing our prayers. In the perfect name of Jesus we pray, amen.